Kissinger's Shadow Over the Council on Foreign Relations | The Nation


Kissinger's Shadow Over the Council on Foreign Relations

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

On February 4 Maxwell delivered to James Hoge a seven-paragraph reply to Rogers's second letter--a reply that effectively rebutted Rogers's accusations and called on Kissinger himself to step forward and "clarify the record" about events in Chile. That document--"the missing letter" of Maxwell's title--never appeared in Foreign Affairs. In a June interview with The Nation, Maxwell insisted that Kissinger and Rogers pressured Hoge to shut down the exchange, but he declined to elaborate on the specific ways in which that pressure was applied: "They know how to act in these matters, and they bring heavy guns to bear."

About the Author

Scott Sherman
Scott Sherman (scottgsherman.com), a contributing writer to The Nation,  is at work on a book about the New York...

Also by the Author

The demise of the New York Public Library’s Central Library Plan is the end of a Bloomberg-era castle in the sky.

After public outcry, the library’s $300 million project to demolish stacks and sell off branch libraries has collapsed.

Maxwell has now identified those "heavy guns": Peter "Pete" Peterson, chair of the council's board of directors, and Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, honorary vice chair of the council and chair and chief executive officer of the embattled American International Group (AIG), the world's largest commercial insurer, which recently agreed to pay $126 million in penalties to the US government to settle a fraud case. Peterson and Greenberg are, in Maxwell's view, a formidable pair: "Neither is a man to be crossed lightly."

"The Case of the Missing Letter" creates new difficulties for James Hoge, who in June vehemently denied that he had received direct (or indirect) pressure from Kissinger. "Mr. Hoge...denied that Mr. Kissinger had pressured him. He demanded that Mr. Maxwell produce proof of his accusation," Diana Jean Schemo wrote in the New York Times on June 16. Earlier, on June 1, Hoge had told The Nation, "I never talked to Henry Kissinger about this at all, nor has anybody else told me that Henry had a view one way or the other." A few days later Hoge told David Glenn of The Chronicle of Higher Education: "I didn't talk to Henry Kissinger, I didn't talk to anybody...these are editor's decisions, which I made. Period." However, Peterson, contradicting the editor, admitted to Glenn that he did indeed phone Hoge in December to convey Kissinger's unhappiness, but he denied that he trespassed on editorial decision-making at Foreign Affairs: "I have great respect for Hoge and for the independence of that magazine."

In late January Maxwell, seeking to insure that he would have the opportunity to rebut Rogers's second missive, left a number of messages for Hoge, who was traveling. Hoge got back to him on January 26. Writes Maxwell: "He did not want to discuss the Kissinger-Rogers matter on the phone, he said, and insisted on a personal meeting." That discussion took place on Friday, January 30, in Hoge's book-lined office overlooking East 68th Street. "We were alone and I was conscious of the fact he wanted it this way." Maxwell offers this description of the meeting:

Hoge explained he had been subjected to great pressure from Henry Kissinger. He said that "Henry will not speak to me or shake my hand." He...told me Peterson had called on Kissinger's behalf. He said he was called and "sworn at for half an hour" by [Maurice] Greenberg.... He said of Kissinger: "Henry has a very dark side," and that Kissinger had sought to interfere before in Foreign Affairs during the editorship of his predecessor William ("Bill") Hyland. He said that he did not think that the breach that resulted between Kissinger and Hyland, who were old friends, had "ever been fully repaired." Very much on his mind, it seemed to me, was how far he could go in criticizing Kissinger without having a similar breach.

By the time Maxwell resigned on May 13, "Kissinger was...speaking to Hoge again."

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.